Double Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service / Howl’s Moving Castle

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Another one of Indi’s favorites. I sat down prepared for a cute animated film and was not disappointed. I don’t think it carried near the heft that Totoro did as far as the story is concerned, as it felt like a more traditional fish-out-of-water coming-of-age story, just in a slightly fantastical reality. It was thoroughly enjoyable, though, if nothing terrifically specially. I enjoyed the cat quite a bit.  Not a lot more I can say here, though, except that I felt the adults were well written and I always relish a slightly alternate near-modern universe.

Howl’s Moving Castle

This one sits at the top of the pile so far; absolutely mesmerizing! At the beginning of the movie, when the titular moving castle literally walks into the frame, I stared at the screen open mouthed. Is that really animated? It was so intricate and complex! It was so ugly, yet beautiful. Once the world started to materialize and I was introduced to characters, I was immediately drawn in.  Steampunk for the win!

It became obvious to be here that Miyazaki prefers female leads. Sophie is a fine addition to the roster but oh man. She is cursed early on in the film into being an old woman. It was inexplicably SHATTERINGLY SAD to me and I had to laugh at verbal tics and mannerisms of the Old Sophie in order to not cry. She was not just like, ‘WTF I’m old!’ it was like she woke up and had GROWN old, i.e. her mind worked like an old person, she had the ailments and seeming familiarity one would have if they’d lived a much longer life…as if she’d woken up from a dream in which she had been young. And mid-way through the movie, when she storms out of the castle…I can’t handle old folks crying. It’s too much!

Howl is dubbed by Christian Bale, while his fire demon companion is dubbed by the brilliant Billy Crystal. It definitely helped the film for my ears and endeared me to the characters instantly. The story arc of maturity, patience, and endurance were well done. My favorite character, by FAR, is the scarecrow Turnip Head. Much like Wall-E, he says a lot without saying anything at all.

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